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Today’s Rental is an “Affordable Unit for only $1,629” in same building as coming Trader Joe’s, Pluma and Shouk

by Prince Of Petworth June 6, 2017 at 2:15 pm 64 Comments

This rental is located at 4th Street NE at Florida Avenue. The Craigslist ad says:

“$1629 / 1br – Brand New 1 Bedroom ADU apartment available August 15th $1629! (NE Washington DC/Red Line/Noma Gallaudet)

One Bedroom Affordable Unit available August 15th for only $1,629

Brand new apartment in the Union Market District.

THESE APARTMENTS WILL NOT LAST LONG!

ALL UTILITIES INCLUDED EXCEPT FOR $10/MONTH TRASH

One bedroom apartment affordable dwelling units – 490-567 square feet

One bedroom minimum qualifications are $51,442

One bedroom maximum qualifications below:

One Person – $60,816
Two Persons – $69,504
Three Persons- $78,192

Floor Plan/Unit Features

– Floor to ceiling windows
– 10 foot ceilings*
– Designer soft close cabinetry
– Quartz countertops
– Stainless steel GE appliances
– Tile backsplashes
– Plank flooring in kitchen, bath and living areas
– Individual Washer and Dryer
– Central Air Conditioning
– Large walk-in closets*

*Select Units

Property Amenities

– 6 story mid-rise with elevators
– Front desk concierge services
– Controlled access entry
– Two blocks from the NOMA/Gallaudet U Metro (red line)
– Multi-Media Clubroom
– 24 hour leading edge fitness center
– Car sharing program (coming soon)
– Landscaped courtyard with fire pits, outdoor kitchen, fountain and foosball
– On-site Trader Joe’s, Bluebird Bakery and other retail spaces (coming soon)
– Union Market is one block away with 30 food vendors and much more…

Parking: $185.00 per space in our lower level garage.

Pet Policy:

Cats and Dogs are allowed up to 25 lbs. Non-refundable fee of $500.00 and $50.00 per month. Breed restrictions apply. Please contact the Edison at Union Market today at show contact info for more details.

Storage: $60 per month”

  • eggs

    How in the world can these be classified as affordable with that minimum salary requirement? That works out to roughly half of your monthly salary going to rent!

    • PretzelThirsty

      Half of your salary for rent is not normal??? I’m going to need to start selling plasma and/or a kidney.

      • eggs

        I mean, according to HUD’s site on Affordable Housing, under “Who Needs Affordable Housing?” it says “Families who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing are considered cost burdened and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care.”
        .
        I always thought that affordable housing was geared towards making ends meet for lower-income individuals/families. This project requires that an individual spend roughly 40-50% of their income on housing to live there which is preposterous to me.
        .
        If you *choose* to spend that on housing that’s one thing. This *requires* it.

        • Bobert

          That HUD figure also assumes 30% in transportation costs. If you’re able to forego owning a car, you can use that money saved on other expenses (say, housing).

          • anon

            +1. This location is walkable to the NoMa metro and pretty much all of downtown. If you can’t make it without a car there, you should leave these units for the many people that can.

          • LittleBluePenguin

            yeah, but Metro isn’t free, so you’re still going to be spending money – sometimes a good chunk of it – on transportation, unless you work close enough to walk or bike. I still think that this version of “affordable” is absurd.

          • Nathan

            Well many that work in DC receive free transit as part of their benefits. I know not all, but many that can get by without a car don’t have metro expenses.

          • Anon

            A lot of expenses are lower if you live in an apartment in a walkable urban area (energy utilities are another example) than an island in suburbia.

          • Anon

            “If you can’t make it without a car there, you should leave these units for the many people that can.”
            So people with jobs or other obligations outside of the city, or medical conditions or jobs that require a car, shouldn’t live in this location?

    • MHillPark

      It’s actually 38% of a monthly salary if your salary is the minimum of $51,442. Most budget websites say to try to stay at 33.3% or less of your monthly salary for rent, but concede that most people will need to go above that in expensive cities like ours. With the rent including all utilities except trash, I actually think it’s a hell of a deal, and a rare opportunity for a 1-bedroom above ground for less than $1,700.

      • eggs

        You took that before taxes. I did a quick salary calculator, which shows that the after-tax salary of $51,442 in DC filing single is approximately $39,125. Monthly that works out to $3260, and a $1629 rent is 50% of that salary.

      • FridayGirl

        It’s 38% of gross income though (not what we actually take home) which is also a pretty important point. Because taxes.

        • Formerly ParkViewRes

          Yes, the calculation is based on gross income. But I agree with eggs and wouldn’t feel comfortable paying $1629 in rent if I was taking home $3260/mo. That’s why I always had roommates. It’s especially not affordable if you have a car and student loans.

          • MHillPark

            I feel the same, but I also am glad other people have the choice to pay this rent for this place if a place like this is important to them and they feel comfortable with a tight budget on other things. Maybe they very rarely eat out, don’t like to travel much, are less of a clothes horse than me, or have a future inheritance that renders saving for retirement less important than it is for me, making this not as much of a stretch as it would be for me. Just because it’s not my choice does not mean it won’t be a reasonably affordable choice for someone else. In grad school I chose to rent a more expensive apartment near campus while a lot of my friends lived further away and took the bus to class. It was a real financial stretch, but the additional time I got to sleep in the morning really mattered to me. I rarely went out to bars/restaurants or on vacation on my student budget, but the splurge on the apartment was totally worth it for my sanity.

          • Anon

            When I got my first job out of college I lived with a roommate in a building near my office. A lot of my coworkers, who made the same amount I did, were paying around $1700 a month to live in the same area by themselves. We got paid $52,000 annually so I thought that was insane, but my roommate turned out to be so unbearable that I barely spent any time in our apartment. In retrospect I wish I’d been less stingy, or perhaps made some other tradeoff like a longer commute.

      • MHillPark

        Absolutely – it’s a lot of money at that salary. My understanding is the advice I referred to is for before-tax income, but I could be wrong. I’m not saying this is objectively affordable, only that it’s affordable relative to what I know a lot of my friends pay for a 1-bedroom or studio, and some of those friends are at the $50K-ish income level. It’s a sad state of affairs for rentals in our real estate market.

    • eggs

      So my main thing here is that this is a designated affordable unit. I have zero problems with someone choosing to pay half of their income to live somewhere they choose to live. I have a big problem with designated affordable housing being not actually affordable according to what I believe is the traditional/accepted definition (30% of income). Maybe it’s just because I’m more familiar with Arlington County’s affordable housing limits, but this doesn’t seem like an actual “affordable housing” policy.

      • MHillPark

        A perfectly fair critique. By the same token, I have friends who live in units like this who are grateful to be allowed to rent a place this nice at their income level and choose to make the trade-offs of living within a tighter budget on the other stuff. Otherwise, it would be nearly impossible for someone making $50K to get a place this nice in the District.

        • eggs

          Yeah I can see that, I’m just wondering if this is how affordable housing policies are being implemented going foward, how anyone making less than $50k/year will afford to live in DC.

          • FridayGirl

            +1. Agreed 100% with you on this statement. (Also to be clear, there are separate housing programs for those who are very-low income… but from my understanding the waitlist for those HUD units can be years — even decades — long. These are not HUD units. They’re units the DC government has given tax breaks to in exchange for middle-income ‘affordable’ units.)

          • MHillPark

            +1000. This is “affordable housing,” not “low-income housing,” but we need way better options for low-income and low-middle-income citizens of the District.

          • eggs

            Thanks for the clarification, I didn’t realize that there were two different kinds in DC. That does make me feel better, actually.

          • FridayGirl

            Of course. Housing policy is incredibly confusing. I’ve been reading about it for years and I still don’t really ~get it~.

          • anon

            that’s the problem with most affordable housing initiatives attached to new development. They treat Section 8 vouchers like a disease and cater to higher earning non-poor ‘poors.’ Think early career professional, non profit workers, etc. This does nothing to address the burden of housing costs for the genuine working poor who would have a hard time claiming these “affordable” units

    • MadMax

      Because it says just below that the amount can be split among multiple people, and given the maximum salary requirements that would actually make more sense.

      • eggs

        Only another $9k in salary total is allowed for two people though. I don’t know, I just fail to see how this qualifies as officially designated/set aside affordable housing.
        .
        It definitely makes more sense when you talk about splitting it. My confusion is stemming from how DC decided that an individual spending 50% of their take home pay on rent qualifies that rent as “affordable housing”.

        • LedroitTiger

          Also, why would three people be splitting a one bedroom?

          • FridayGirl

            Actually, they can’t. Only 2 people can live in a one bedroom by law. They must have 2 bedrooms, as well (i.e. families might qualify).

          • Anon Spock

            They can’t but they do. I see far too many 1 and 2 bdr split up by 2-3 or 4-5 unrelated, uncoupled ppl. I see it most around American and gw.

          • ShawMama

            2 adults and a baby? I know lots of people who do this in DC.

        • MadMax

          I agree that it still seems pretty high, but I don’t know who’s responsible for determining the rates.

  • bacon

    There is no way anyone who makes 55k can afford a $1600/month apartment. How are these affordable units??

    • Hill Denizen

      If all utilities includes tv and internet, you’re looking at the equivalent of $1400/month. Not great, but not insane or irresponsible.

    • Joshua

      It would be pretty tough. Long ago when I first moved to DC I was making $60k/year. My rent for a 1BR was $1100/month, and I just barely had enough to live on every month. I certainly couldn’t save any money at all, and I frequently had to dip into the savings I’d accumulated during the time I lived somewhere with a more reasonable cost of living.

      • FridayGirl

        Really? My rent has been that (for a studio) and my income lower and I’m saving money even though I’m paying student loans, etc. (Although everyone has different circumstances and needs.) It’s not easy but paying half of your income on rent is certainly in the “doable” category — if you have some other non-fixed expenses that can be made.

        • FridayGirl

          *non-fixed expenses where sacrifices can be made

        • JoDa

          Yeah, that was me when I first moved here, too. More than 20% less than Josh there, and I saved for retirement, in general, etc., even with student loans (extended but not income-based payments), a car loan, and credit card debt. I guess it takes all types, but I was making less than that when I *bought* my first home (and, no, there were no fairy godmothers involved in that…FHA financing, but no inheritances or gifts).

      • NH Ave Hiker

        I make only slightly more than that now and I pay around 1300 per month. I save a good amount for retirement and feel like I have more than enough spending money…

      • anon

        My income fluctuates around that figure and my rent was recently a bit higher, yet I was still able to save up some money, put a fair amount away for retirement, fill up my HSA account and pay off the balance on the smallest of my three student loans, while also saving up for the down payment on a condo.

      • Anon Spock

        I’m not sure how that’s possible… not being able to live on the remainder at 60k pre tax I’m guessing huge student loan payments or something like that.

        • Joshua

          Nah, just a car payment and living irresponsibly. Like going out 3-4 nights/week.

          • FridayGirl

            Well in that case it’s not tough at all. Just don’t go out so much.

          • Anon

            I did all that on a similar salary/rent in my mid-20s and was still able to save. I guess drinks were cheaper back then though.

    • NH Ave Hiker

      I made only 43k my first year here and I lived by myself in a $1550 apartment. It’s doable.

      • +1. Definitely doable. Though I concede that it is easier for people who don’t have any/significant student loans, don’t carry credit card debt, and are willing to be conscientious about their spending habits.

        • NH Ave Hiker

          Agreed (most of those apply to me – thanks to the GI Bill)

    • anon

      I made $50k when I first moved here and paid $1600/month in rent + student loans. It’s definitely doable.

  • Jon Fox

    I really don’t understand how someone making $50k-$60k/year can afford a $1629/mo apartment. Also huge thumbs down to weight limits on pets, they are so arbitrary.

  • a nom

    someone beginning their career will be very happy here (with parental assistance)

  • FridayGirl

    I have to say, I love how everyone is asking how anyone can afford that on those salaries. I’ve been thinking this since I moved to DC and started doing the ADU/IZ ordeal four years ago. DC government sets the unit rent and income requirements, and they’ve been pretty much the same for years — so it would be great if they had an answer for all of our questions! (At the same time, they’re still cheaper than most apartments that aren’t basements/group houses…)

    • MHillPark

      +1, totally. I think the trick here is that DC is doing ADU for luxury buildings, and the salary level requirements are already a lot more than a lot of people make in this town. In most parts of the country $50K is a lot of money (certainly more than my siblings make in cheaper metro areas), but here $50K is both more than a lot of people make AND often not enough to live comfortably outside of a basement unit or group house. I think that’s why a lot of people take to the suburbs and live with a long commute. :-(

      • FridayGirl

        Agreed.

  • Schaefway

    DID ANYONE READ THIS PART: Cats and Dogs are allowed up to 25 lbs. Non-refundable fee of $500.00 and $50.00 per month.

    I always joke about how my cat should pay rent, but this is a little ridiculous. That would be $1100 per year for a pet. Yowza. Is this normal??

    • Formerly ParkViewRes

      Yes, at least with the managed buildings like this. I can’t imagine paying $50 a month for a pet.

    • MHillPark

      Sadly it’s very normal. In my experience, in my rent-controlled apartment I had a one-time pet fee of like $400 but no pet rent; but in the market-rent buildings I’ve lived in I had a deposit and $30/month for cats and $50/month for dogs. So yes, I once paid $80/month for my two pets. It was ludicrous, but at that time it was the best deal I could find for my circumstances.

    • eggs

      Yeah unfortunately it is. I’ve seen many apartment buildings that charge between $25-50/month per pet.

    • MadMax

      That’s extremely common in DC, I’ve seen many that are higher.

      • NH Ave Hiker

        Even common elsewhere. I paid around 30 a month for my dog at an apartment back home.

        • MHillPark

          I also paid the same type of fee in a city in the middle of the country. It’s especially common in buildings managed by major national rental “chains” — think Post, Camden, Meridian, Greystar, Gables, Avalon, Bozzuto, etc.

    • anon

      no – with the one time fee it would be $1100 for the 1st year and $600 for subsequent years, assuming the monthly pet fee does not increase annually like rents.

  • MadMax

    The minimum income is for everyone in the unit. You’re all thinking of this like it’s a college graduate starting out on his / her own. This is designed for a “family”, however it’s composed, assuming that more than one person (ideally) is working, thus the maximum salary requirements for one person being so close to the minimum.

  • say what

    This is based on Area Median Income (although it may have a newer name). the AMI is about $108k, and that includes DC and surounding counties like MoCo and Arlington which makes it higher. HUD sets the guidelines on affordable based typically on families of 4 making some percentage of AMI-typically 30% or lower of AMI is considered the lowest level of affordability , then 50% or %80 are “workforce”- DC typically follows the HUD guidelines. There are units built for people with no income as well. There are a multitide of ways these are funded and built.

  • Newton

    Ugh unfortunately the area median income (how the federal government classifies wealth) is incredibly high at nearly 110,000. L-income housing is 30% of AMI so around 30K in this circumstance. Workforce housing or affordable below market housing is for families that make between 35K and 80K a year adjusted for family size. I agree these apartments are still expensive but man… our region is expensive! In Dallas or LA AMI is around 60,000 making workforce housing and low-income housing a much much lower number.

  • L

    I missed this discussion the other day, so who knows if anyone will even read this, but I wanted to add some perspective as someone who lives in one of this ADU (not in this building, but one on H street nearby). I was paying $1325 for a 450 sq ft studio (great deal, I know). I loved my apartment but it definitely had its problems (for example, I love to cook and its kitchen was miniscule so I ate a lot of frozen dinners; the management was nonresponsive when I had packages stolen from the lobby 3 times in the year I lived there, etc.). I pay $1480 for a super nice 710 sq ft 1BR within walking distance of work (no more $25/week on the metro). All in all, I pay about $1600 which is about $100 more than I was paying for my old place (including internet, metro, etc.). That’s more than worth – to me – it to me to be in a 1BR (can’t remember last time I didn’t live ina studio or with roommates), such a nice building, walk to work, etc. I have student loans, savings, etc. and still make it work (it helps that I don’t like to shop and rarely eat dinner out). Honestly, the only thing I don’t like is knowing that I’ll be priced out of it within the next year or two and have to move.

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